I took part in a radio interview yesterday. It was with the work at home radio network and had to do with blogging as career choice. My interviewer was most interested in how to earn money through blogging, especially through monetizing one’s own blogs. I told her what I told everyone else: when you’re just starting out, money should be your last concern.
I can’t tell you how many brand spanking new blogs I’ve come across that receive a couple of visitors a day, yet have big, flashing ads on either side. This tells me two things:
- The ads are more important than the content.
- This person is hoping to pull in some quick money.
So I ask you, how can you earn money with a blog receiving no traffic?
If you build it they will come
If you’re asking my opinion, and I’m assuming you are since you’re reading this, I’d say build up traffic. Don’t waste your efforts on ads; the money will come in time if that’s what you’re after. Instead write pages and pages of good, useful content. Offer your readers sound advice, humorous anecdotes and links to important resources. Once you have at least a dozen pages written, it’s time to bring in the traffic. You can do this in many ways. When you’re just starting out, I’d recommend:
Visiting other blogs and commenting. Don’t leave spammy “hey nice blog, check out my content” comments, instead, offer your point of view and that’s it. You’ll notice a spot to drop your link in the heading boxes, that’ll do just fine.
Visiting online forums. Just as with commenting, you don’t want to seem spammy. Offer a useful point of view and drop your link in the signature. If you offer a useful opinion, people will want to visit your blog.
Digg, Stumble Upon and other social networking and media sites. If you believe you wrote something brilliant, take advantage of the different social media sites. You may not make it to Digg’s first page, but there might be a person or two interested in reading what you have to say.
Offering up your services as a guest blogger. A great way to drive traffic is by guest blogging on someone else’s blog. Trust me, I know. A couple of months back, I was a guest blogger for Darren Rowse and traffic to all my blogs soared.
Installing a stat tracker. I use Site Meter and Google Analytics (and of course, PMetrics). Stat trackers are a great way to tell why people come to your blog. You’ll learn which topics and keywords are most popular, giving you an idea of what type of content to write. That isn’t to say you should revolve your blog around keywords and search terms. Nothing turns me off more than a blog filled with obvious keywords.
Writing lots of content. The more great content you write, the more pages will be indexed by Google and other search engines and the more people will visit your blog.
Now, I hate to harp on this, but I’ll say it again. All this takes time. It takes time to achieve Google and Alexa rankings, it takes time for people to find your blog and it takes time to achieve the amount of traffic likely to enable you to earn a decent income from your blog. In fact, I’ll venture to say not everyone can expect to earn a revenue check each month.
If you truly want to make money blogging, you’re going to have to work hard to bring in the masses. Once the traffic is flowing, once you have a great community built up, once your name is out there, then, and only then, should you worry about the ads.